You pay premiums in exchange for a promise. That promise usually includes paying for damages that are covered under your policy in the event of an accident. The types of cases we usually see are when insurance companies refuse to keep their end of the bargain. It’s not fair for you to pay your premiums only for the insurance company to try to avoid paying their end. Insurance companies are in the business of collecting money, and they do not like giving it back. They try to find loopholes and reasons in your contract to keep them from paying out. We know their tricks and refuse to let them get away with it.
Whether you are dealing with an unpaid storm claim, homeowners insurance claim, life insurance claim, or any other claim in which you pay premiums, give our firm a call. Our Houston insurance claim lawyers will review your policy free of charge and help you get what you deserve. Insurance companies should act in good faith regarding settling your claim. However, there are a lot of adjusters out there who act in bad faith and do not look out for your best interest.
Situations That Might Require an Insurance Claims Attorney
Sometimes people buy an insurance policy based on cost alone and do not read the fine print. Knowing what a policy covers and excludes is essential. A Houston insurance claims attorney could examine a policy and explain any confusing terms.
With that said, insurers work hard to pay out as little as possible and might deny losses that a specific policy covers. Such a situation could arise in any context, including:
- Health insurers denying necessary treatment or services
- Property insurers discounting storm damage
- Homeowner’s insurers denying coverage for a third-party claim
- Disability insurers questioning the insured’s inability to work
- Life insurers delaying payment after death
- Business insurers aggressively challenging the value of stolen merchandise
- Automobile insurers underestimating vehicle damage
The insurer’s actions in any of these scenarios could violate the law.
An action against an insurance company usually begins with writing a letter informing the company that their insured has legal counsel and intends to enforce their rights under the policy. Receiving that letter often moves a claim up the chain of command and results in payment or at least opens negotiations.
The Law Requires Prompt Action
Insurance policies contain a provision requiring policyholders to notify the insurer of a claim within a certain timeframe. Requiring prompt notice allows the company to investigate the circumstances and examine evidence of the loss, which might not be available if too much time passes.
The insurance company also must act promptly. The law requires insurers to acknowledge receipt of a claim within 15 business days in most cases. The company also must begin investigating the claim and request additional information within that period. If an insured does not receive timely notice and the company is unresponsive, a Houston insurance claims attorney could question why the company is not adhering to the law.
If the insured provides the requested information, the company has 15 more business days to complete its investigation and decide whether to pay the claim. If the claim is related to arson, the company has 30 days to investigate. In some cases, a company might take an additional 45 days to investigate, but it must notify the insured if it does so. At the end of the investigatory period, the company must either pay the claim within five days or state a reason for denying it.
Filing a Bad Faith Lawsuit in Houston
If an insurance company is delaying a decision without legitimate cause or refusing to pay for a covered loss, legal action might be necessary. If an insurance claims lawyer could prove an insurer acted in bad faith, Texas Insurance Code §542.060 makes the company liable to the policyholder for the full value of their claimed losses with interest, court costs, and attorney’s fees. The insured also might receive compensation for emotional distress and expenses incurred due to the insurer’s bad faith.
In some cases, an insured might claim punitive or exemplary damages. A court could award these damages if the insurance company’s conduct was malicious or fraudulent. The claimant must prove the company’s intentional wrongdoing, which could be a high threshold in many cases. However, a credible threat of exemplary damages might induce an insurer to make a reasonable settlement offer.
Work with a Houston Insurance Claims Attorney to Get the Coverage You Deserve
You buy insurance to get protection. It is unfair for insurers to unreasonably deny you the coverage you paid for just to pad their profits.
If an insurance company delays or denies your claim without cause, speak with a Houston insurance claims lawyer immediately. Often, one contact from a legal professional is all it takes to get the company to move on your claim, but an experienced attorney could also file suit if needed to get you the payments you need. Reach out today to act against an insurance company’s bad faith.